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World Water Day event to address global need for water and sanitation

ATLANTA (March 22, 2013) – To commemorate World Water Day, CARE; the Center for Global Safe Water at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Task Force for Global Health; and Habitat for Humanity will host “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Transforming Lives.” The event will be held on April 9, 2013, from 5 - 7 p.m. in the Claudia Nance Rollins Auditorium at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

“Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Transforming Lives” will address the global concerns for water and sanitation needs, and the responsibilities of communities to provide it. It will feature a panel discussion moderated by Jeffrey Koplan, M.D., M.P.H., vice president for Global Health at Emory and former director of the CDC. Panelists include Robert Tauxe, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases at CDC; Christine Moe, Ph.D., director of the Center for Global Safe Water at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health; and David Addiss, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Children Without Worms program at the Task Force for Global Health.

Safe water and sanitation are at the heart of reducing poverty. They are essential to preventing childhood mortality and morbidity, and for increasing food security. Nearly 2.5 billion people are without access to adequate toilets, and 800 million people lack a safe source of drinking water. The World Health Organization reports that diarrheal disease – primarily caused by drinking unsafe water or lack of good hygiene – kills more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

“The U.S. made significant investments in providing safe water and adequate sanitation throughout the country in the early 1900s, which dramatically improved the health of all Americans,” says Michael Beach, Ph.D., associate director for Healthy Water in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at CDC. “The tremendous benefits resulting from those investments show how important it is for us to commit to working with developing countries around the world to support their efforts in providing safe water and adequate sanitation to their populations. We must help them prevent the same devastating diseases, like cholera and typhoid, that have now become history in more developed countries.”

Lack of access to safe water and sanitation also disproportionately affects the health and safety of women and girls.

“CARE operates on the belief that poor girls and women hold the key to ending poverty. With the proper resources, they are able to transform lives and create positive change in their communities,” says Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA. “This is why CARE has partnered with other organizations to improve water and sanitation.”

Besides helping to reduce disease burden and improve gender equality, innovation in safe water and sanitation contributes to improved living and economic conditions and supports the growth of national and regional economies.

“Habitat has been building homes, communities and hope for more than 35 years,” says Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “A holistic approach to housing, including safe and reliable access to water and sanitation, is critical to addressing the many challenges faced by the families and communities we serve.”

Partners of this event are involved in many projects to improve water and sanitation, such as eradicating harmful parasites found in stagnant water, leading the global fight against cholera and tropical disease control and training the next generation of water and sanitation professionals on effective strategies and technologies. 

“At the Center for Global Safe Water, we recognize the power of partnerships united by the common goal to improve access to sufficient, safe water, sanitation and hygiene,” says Dr. Christine Moe. “Together, we will address these issues through applied research, monitoring, evaluation and partnerships for training and capacity building.”

Register to attend “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Transforming Lives” at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/wwd_atlanta. Space is limited. The event will also be streamed live online.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 600,000 families by welcoming people of all races, religions and nationalities to construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.habitat.org, or follow us at www.facebook.com/habitat or at www.twitter.com/habitat_org or join Habitat’s blog community at www.habitat.org/blog.